Traces of War
Jan BanningMon 15 Aug 2005 - Sun 11 Sep 2005
August 15th 2005 commemorated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in the Pacific. 'Traces of War' by Dutch photographer Jan Banning, shows the story of 24 survivors of the 60,000 allied prisoners of war, forced to work on the Sumatra railway. Around 30 percent did not survive. 60 years later Banning produced portraits and interviews with 15 Dutch prisoners of War, one Indonesian and 8 Indonesian romushas, Asian civilians, who were also forced by the Japanese to work on the railways. This exhibition showed 12 prints selected from Traces of War.
August 15th 2005 commemorated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in the Pacific. 'Traces of War' by Dutch photographer Jan Banning, shows the story of 24 survivors of the 60,000 allied prisoners of war, forced to work on the Sumatra railway. Around 30 percent did not survive. 60 years later Banning produced portraits and interviews with 15 Dutch prisoners of War, one Indonesian and 8 Indonesian romushas, Asian civilians, who were also forced by the Japanese to work on the railways. This exhibition showed 12 prints selected from Traces of War.

The haunting black and white images show the 24 survivors now as they were then, as workers, naked from the waist up. They candidly face the camera, some with faint smiles, others with sad, stern expressions - all of their experiences of the same place and time in different ways affecting them. Some have accepted the past and even deny the notion of victimisation or of hatred against the Japanese, others are still deeply disturbed, sleeping with a klewang, a machete, under their bed as a protection. The words accompanying each portrait elicit, with a matter-of-fact disinterest, the misery of their shared intense ordeal.



The exhibition was launched on 15th August 2005, the 60th anniversary of Emperor Hirohito's capitulation. The photographs and testimonies tell a story far removed from the euphoria of victory that was celebrated on that day.
Artworks will be added shortly